I received this email from Dr. Will Dampier today
I noticed you haven't posted to your judo blog in a while ... although I do enjoy your programming/stats blog as well.
If you're looking for an idea I have one for ya:
I remember you posted a while about teaching foot-sweep and remarking that nobody ever kicks hard enough ... especially for beginners. I thought about the problem and came up with a fun idea. I had all of the students bring in a pair of large bath towels which we wrapped around are ankles/shins. Then we did all of the common foot-sweep drills but concentrated on kicking hard.
The last time we did this I had a few brand-new students who had no preconceptions about how foot-sweeps are "supposed" to work. After only a few practices they've become some of the best ashi-waza players in the class.
You can see a video of it here: http://animoto.com/play/P0fz7RqsqUfsoneTQ1Ao1Q
So, now that I am back to posting and back to judo, you can all blame Will!
Actually, I have been extremely busy at my real job. Today was the second of two national conference calls on the Ticket to Work evaluation for social security. If you live in California, and get a survey in the mail - send it back!
I just finished the FIFTH paper for the Western Users of SAS Software conference. In case you are interested, they are on super-computing, data visualization, programming and functions, procedures and graphics application. Okay, I knew you weren't interested, who am I kidding. Fine! Then I won't tell you about the paper for the other conference on evaluation of ethics. Some of these judo people made for great case studies. Really, I'm kidding about that part - so far anyway, but I may work some examples in there.
SO-O-O all that being done for now I have a chance to get back to judo. Remember that program that Ronda started up at Gompers Middle School? Well, it's starting up again on Friday, with me teaching the first session. She and I are going to trade off teaching, since both of us have pretty limited time. Urban schools face a lot of challenges and a lack of resources. It's been an education so far working with the teacher and principal to see how they overcome everything from (literal) fires at the school to (very real) concerns about the kids' safety walking home. I'm looking forward to this school year. I've been turned off by the true motivations of a lot of people in judo who want to work in the public schools. Despite the lip service you get, most of them just want more money in membership fees in their organizations or to run 100,000 kids through the mill so they can come up with a dozen who might have shots at an Olympic medal.
Christopher Jencks, who wrote the book Inequality, ended it with the statement that the reason he was for having playgrounds for eight-year-olds wasn't that it increased the probability of them earning a higher income as adults. It was because it increased the probability of them having a good time when they were eight. So, yeah, it's like that. These kids face an uphill climb in their lives and if they can be just a tiny bit healthier and happier because they have judo class on Friday afternoons, then we're down.
Whenever I say things like that, Jim Pedro, Sr. rolls his eyes and groans,
"There you go, being a yuppie liberal again!"
By the way, thanks a lot to the person from my old judo club who sent the bottles of water and power bars. As Ronda noted, these kids seem to overdose on the junk food, and there is no water fountain close to the practice room, so it was very appreciated. You can join my Yuppie Liberal Club.